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Ex-lawyer’s embezzlement conviction affirmed

The Court of Appeals of Virginia has upheld the embezzlement conviction of former Richmond Social Security lawyer Kyle C. Leftwich.

Leftwich was convicted in 2011 of taking $450,000 from the firm of Marks & Harrison by pocketing attorney fees paid to her by the Social Security Administration. Under her employment contract, the fees belonged to the firm.

Leftwich was sentenced to more than three years in prison, but remained free pending an appeal.

That appeal ended Tuesday with a seven-page opinion from a three-judge panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals.

The court rejected Leftwich’s argument that the government never entrusted her with the attorney fee checks for the benefit of her firm. The embezzlement statute requires only that a defendant took money received for another or for an employer, the court said.

“The uncontroverted evidence is that appellant wrongfully and fraudulently used or disposed of the firm’s property (checks) which she received for the firm. That evidence, in itself, is sufficient for a conviction,” wrote Judge Robert P. Frank for the panel.

Leftwich consented to revocation of her law license in 2010 after she was charged with embezzlement.

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